Wednesday, August 27, 2008

detail post #5: last minute diy projects

Well, now that we've finally wrapped up our never-ending wedding and honeymoon photo extravaganza, I guess it's time to finish up the detail posts as well. This one chronicles the remaining d.i.y. and design projects we finished right before the wedding - sorry if it's kind of a hodge-podge. After this post, I'll cover our flowers and music and then I think we'll actually be done!

(as always, click each image to enlarge)


Although The Martha tried to entice me with her ribbon-bound, hand-sewn, double-stuffed booklets of information, by this stage of wedding planning I had finally learned how to "just say no". We kept them simple. So simple that they really don't need any explanation at all. We had white card stock on hand, so that's what we used. We designed them in Photoshop and printed them out with our own ink-jet printer. One particular note of interest, though - it was *Jesse's* idea to use the polka-dot pattern - I've finally won him over to the polka-dotted dark side...mwah ha ha.

Garland of Ancestor Wedding Photos

(the photos from our parents' weddings)

We wanted to do something to honor our parents' and grandparents' weddings and although I loved the images of other weddings with tables filled with framed photos, I'm kind of obsessed with garlands.

To make these, we scanned in each wedding photo (or a photo of each couple from around the time that got married if they didn't have formal wedding photos taken), cropped them, transformed them all into black and white files, and printed them on glossy photo paper. We then designed the frames in Photoshop and added name plates so that all of our guests would know who they were looking at. We printed the frames on cream card stock and cut out ovals with an exacto knife. We folded the frames in half like a top-folding greeting card and taped the photos to the interior with double-sided tape. We made two loops out of thin rectangles of card stock which we glued to the back of each frame and then threaded pink ribbon through. Since we weren't allowed to nail or tape anything to the walls of our reception site, we tied the ribbon ends to two lamps that were jutting out from the wall above our beverage table. See the finished product here.

Paper Circle Garlands

(part of one finished garland laid out on our kitchen floor)

Finally, I was able to unite two of my favorite things - polka-dots and garlands - together at last! We made several long strings of paper circle garlands to hang from both the ceremony gazebo and above the dance floor at our reception site. I got the idea after seeing this website. Colorful garlands always remind me of vintage circus tents and summertime, which is a definite positive in my book, plus they seemed cheap and easy to make.

To make ours, we bought several meters of thick embroidery string and a couple of large sheets of heavy-weight paper in our wedding colors from the local art supply store. Since they didn't sell paper in every color that we wanted, we also painted a couple of sheets of thick bristol paper on both sides with acrylic paint to finish off our color palette. After the painted sheets dried, we attacked each of our papers with a handy 1 3/8" circle punch until we had piles of colored circles covering our living room floor. Then we glued little rectangular tabs in the same color to the top of each circle and folded each tab in regular increments along the embroidery string. We ended up making four really long garlands and sprinkled some of the extra circles without tabs on side tables at the reception. Making the garlands turned out to be a pretty mind-less task that we worked on while watching movies (1 completed garland = about the running length of 1 movie). The supplies for this project probably cost about $8 total - score!

My Head Band

Up until the week before the wedding, I had no idea how to accessorize my hair. I'd practiced several up-dos and had a general idea of how I would wear my hair for the wedding, but it looked a little plain without any adornment at all. I'd tossed around all of these ideas for months, but none of them looked quite like what I had in mind. The veils got nixed because they seemed like they'd make my dress look over-formal and fussy. I tried a couple of fake flowers but they ended up looking like frilly tumors blooming out of the side of my head. Finally, during my last hair practice, I played with wrapping one of my silver beaded necklaces around my hair and everything clicked. It was the exact look I was going for - a simple little bit of extra shine.

My headband was EXTREMELY easy and cheap to make. I bought some small silver beads and a spool of thin silver elastic at the craft supply store and used a spool of really thin copper wire and two tiny silver brackets that I already owned from past necklace experiments ( those can also be bought at any craft store for a couple of dollars). First, I attached a bracket to the copper wire and strung enough beads on until it was just short of encircling my head. I tied off the other end of the wire with the second bracket and looped a short amount of elastic between the two brackets and then attached a piece of a third bracket at the center of the elastic to cover the its tied-off ends. You could use only elastic and beads, but the copper seemed stronger than the elastic, and I couldn't find elastic thin enough to fit through the bead holes. I think this project took me all of 5 minutes to make and about $5 worth of supplies. Finished product here.

Stuffed Birds

This was another project I completed in the last week leading up to the wedding. It was one of those projects on my list that I saved for the very end because it wouldn't make or break the look of the reception if I ran out of time. It would just be a nice extra touch if it did work out. I'd fallen in love with Ann Wood's ubiquitous birds like so many other brides before me (they were even part of the first gigantic inspiration board that I made ages ago), but we had absolutely no wiggle room in our budget by this point. If we had, I would have just bought several of hers and called it a day. Instead I figured I'd experiment and see if I could make my own on the cheap.

As you can see, mine are a lot more sloppy and no where near as cute as their inspiration, but they also didn't break the bank, so I'll call this project a success. I raided the local thrift shop for clothing and pillow cases in fabrics that complemented our wedding scheme because that ended up being much cheaper than yards of new fabric. I stuffed each bird with the insides of an old pillow and used wire and hot glue that Jesse already owned for their legs. It took one evening of experimenting with different patterns and several failed attempts to come up with the body shape that I had in mind. I completed the cutting, sewing, and stuffing of each bird's body while watching a movie or a couple of tv shows and tackled about one each night. I attached all of their beaks (felt, sewed or glued together), sewn eyes, and wire legs during one more evening of movie watching and added accessories (felt hat, mesh veil) to the bride and groom bird over the coarse of one morning. So I guess it took about a week of sporadic work to make all of the ones shown above + one extra legless bird that I tied to our card cage. All of the supplies (cloth, stuffing, felt) cost between $10 - $15 total, so this was a project cheap on money but not on time.

Since Jesse doesn't like the look of things plopped on top of a wedding cake, we decided to arrange the bride and groom birds beside our cake instead and add the other three to our sweet heart table centerpiece. A lot of the kids at our reception seemed enthralled by the birds, so I'll take that as a thumbs up on this project.

Getaway Vehicle

(documenting the first practice ride)

This wasn't a d.i.y. project at all, but I thought it could use a little bit of an explanation (if you haven't already fallen asleep from the rest of my over-exposition). I'd heard stories and seen photos of a tandem bike that Jesse's family owned, but had never actually seen it in person. Apparently they'd stuffed it in their attic a decade ago never to ride it again. I was determined to make it our getaway vehicle, especially since it was a vintage red Schwinn, even though it took many months of convincing to get Jesse on board. You see, he knows my clumsiness first hand. He was sure that this idea would end up a folly of skinned knees, torn clothing, broken bones or worse. But we took it out for a spin around the block with no major mishaps and I bought a short 2nd dress so that we wouldn't have to worry about my long train getting tangled in the spokes. After some cleaning and a replacing of the breaks he was convinced and the bike was ready to go.

Our ride was one of my favorite parts of the day. After all of the craziness (although fantastic craziness) of that morning and afternoon, it felt like a little bubble of peaceful bliss to escape for a few minutes and pedal down the wooded paths of the community center all by ourselves. I'm also happy to report that we didn't fall once! Now I just have to figure out a way to steal it and bring it back to our tiny apartment in Philadelphia.

Up Next: Flowers


Kelly said...

love all your details!

Our invitations looked almost exactly like your program - with the dots and the bracket.

deanna said...

thanks kelly! i just looked at your blog and loved all of your details, too. your invitations looked FABULOUS, btw....but of course i would think that:)

Miss Shortcake said...

SO sweet! I love the ancestor garland!

jadie said...

would you be interested in posting the pattern and more detailed instructions for the birds? i'm dying to make one!

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